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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,341

Journal Archives

Trump Scores $617 Million of Cash With Vornado From Tower Bonds

Source: Bloomberg

Investors snapped up $1.2 billion of bonds linked to a San Francisco office tower that makes up much of Donald Trump’s fortune.

The AAA slice of the commercial mortgage-backed security sold Friday with a discount margin, or risk premium, of 125 basis points over one-month Libor -- roughly in line with other recent office-tower deals.


The complex, among the tallest buildings in San Francisco, is one of two Trump-linked office towers that Vornado is refinancing. The other is in New York. While Vornado majority owns them, Trump’s 30% stake is the most valuable part of his portfolio, making up about one-third of his $2.3 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The refinancing -- and cash windfall for Vornado and Trump -- comes months after several banks tied to the former president said they would no longer work with him after the deadly U.S. Capitol riot in January.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-30/trump-scores-617-million-of-cash-with-vornado-from-tower-bonds

I guess he isn't going bankrupt anytime soon.

Democrats Criticize Justice Barrett for Declining to Recuse from Case of Koch-Funded Group that Spen

Source: Law and Crime

Democrats Criticize Justice Barrett for Declining to Recuse from Case of Koch-Funded Group that Spent Heavily on Ads to Confirm Her

Democrats criticized Justice Amy Coney Barrett over her decision not to recuse herself from a case that the Supreme Court heard on Monday morning involving a conservative group who financially supported her confirmation last year.

“Justice Barrett is ignoring important ethical standards to rule on a case that could open our democracy to further infiltration by dark-money influence, perhaps permanently,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told Forbes. “Her choice to press forward in spite of recusal laws also creates a troubling new precedent, and undermines public confidence in the integrity of the Court.”

The nation’s high court heard oral arguments in two consolidated cases stylized as Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Rodriquez and Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta on Monday morning. The companion cases both concern First Amendment challenges to a California law which requires some opaque nonprofit groups to divulge certain donor information to the IRS.

The lead petitioner in the case is a nonprofit run by billionaires David Koch and Charles Koch. During Barrett’s relatively painless confirmation process, the group spent in excess of $1 million on ads boosting her image.

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/supreme-court/democrats-criticize-justice-barrett-for-declining-to-recuse-from-case-of-koch-funded-group-that-spent-heavily-on-ads-to-confirm-her/

Democrats Ask Justice Barrett To Recuse In Case Involving Nonprofit Donor Privacy

Source: NPR

Democratic members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees are asking U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from participating in a case involving a conservative nonprofit with ties to a group that gave at least $1 million to fund a "national campaign" to win Senate confirmation of her Supreme Court nomination.

At her confirmation hearing, Barrett refused to answer questions about whether she would recuse in the case, which was then pending before the court, but had not been granted review. At the time, she said it would "not be appropriate for me as a judicial nominee to offer an opinion about such abstract issues or hypotheticals."

But after she was confirmed, the court agreed to review the case, and there was no indication of a Barrett recusal.

The case, which is to be argued next week, was brought by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, created by the conservative Koch brothers. It challenges a California law, similar to those in other states, that requires tax-exempt nonprofits to attach to their state tax filing an IRS form that discloses the identity of their large donors. The foundation is seeking a broad constitutional ruling that would keep its donor identities secret.

Read more: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/22/989595589/democrats-ask-justice-barrett-to-recuse-in-case-involving-nonprofit-donor-privac

This one is tricky. This group funded ads on her behalf, but there's no evidence that she ever met with, spoke with, or even knew of their support. If funding a campaign qualifies without any sort of notification or sign off, it would seem an exploitable way for a group to get a Justice they don't think will support them to recuse

Ukraine says Russia will soon have over 120,000 troops on its borders

Source: Reuters

Russia will soon have more than 120,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Tuesday, calling for new Western economic sanctions to deter Moscow from “further escalation”.

Washington and NATO have been alarmed by the large build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine and in Crimea, the peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Western officials say the concentration of forces is now larger than during that annexation. The figure given by Kuleba is higher than Ukraine’s previous estimate of 80,000 Russian troops, of which 50,000 were new deployments.

"Russian troops continue to arrive in close proximity to our borders in the northeast, in the east and in the south. In about a week, they are expected to reach a combined force of over 120,000 troops," Kuleba told an online news conference.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russia-reach-over-120000-troops-ukraines-border-week-ukraine-says-2021-04-20/

You don't amass that many troops unless you're going to use them. Say goodbye to Ukraine, and welcome the resurgence of Russian global power. Oil prices going up is also super beneficial to the Russian economy.

Amy Coney Barrett receives $2 million advance for book deal: report

Source: The Hill

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has reportedly sold a book, receiving an advance of $2 million.

Three industry sources close to the matter told Politico that Barrett's book will deal with how judges are not supposed to bring their personal feelings into their rulings.

One industry source told Politico that the "eye-raising amount" is likely the most a justice has received since Clarence Thomas and Sandra Day O'Connor sold their own books.


Barrett was pressed by Democratic lawmakers during her confirmation hearing on how she would rule on certain cases having to do with Roe v. Wade, the Second Amendment and the Affordable Care Act. Barrett avoided answering such questions, saying that, like the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she would not offer "previews" on specific cases.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/media/549062-amy-coney-barrett-received-2-million-advance-for-book-deal-report

Medical ruling: Capitol cop Sicknick died of natural causes

Source: AP

Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured while confronting rioters during the Jan. 6 insurrection, suffered a stroke and died from natural causes, the Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office ruled Monday, a finding that lessens the chances that anyone will be charged in his death.

Investigators initially believed the officer was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case. And they later thought the 42-year-old Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — that may have contributed to his death.

But the determination of a natural cause of death means the medical examiner found that a medical condition alone caused his death — it was not brought on by an injury. The determination is likely to significantly inhibit the ability of federal prosecutors to bring homicide charges in Sicknick’s death.

Federal prosecutors have charged two men with using bear spray on Sicknick during the Jan. 6 riot. The arrests of George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julian Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, were the closest federal prosecutors have come to identifying and charging anyone associated with the five deaths that happened during and after the riot.

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/capitol-siege-politics-homicide-b497800805aedae48b72bc4837b90042

Biden to talk infrastructure with bipartisan lawmakers as GOP signals support for smaller bill

Source: CNBC

President Joe Biden will hold his second infrastructure meeting with Democratic and Republican members of Congress on Monday, as GOP lawmakers push to shrink the president’s more than $2 trillion plan.

Biden aims to approve a package in the coming months that revamps U.S. roads, bridges, airports, broadband, housing and utilities, and invests in job training along with care for elderly and disabled Americans. Republicans have signaled they could support a scaled-back bill based around transportation, broadband and water systems.

The president has said he wants to craft a bipartisan bill, but Democrats would move to pass legislation on their own through budget reconciliation if they fail to strike a deal with the GOP. As the parties have disparate visions of what qualifies as infrastructure and how big of a role the government should take in the process, it is unclear what could win support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Asked Sunday if he would back a roughly $800 billion infrastructure proposal floated by some of his Senate colleagues, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, did not explicitly endorse the figure but signaled he could support a plan with transportation and broadband at its center.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/19/infrastructure-bill-joe-biden-will-meet-with-bipartisan-lawmakers.html

Operation Convince Joe Manchin is now a go.

A Post-Filibuster World Would Be a Nightmare for Progressives

With astonishing speed, it’s become conventional wisdom on the left that the filibuster must go.

Having seized full control of the White House and Congress — but just barely — many Democrats naturally see the Senate’s 60-vote threshold as an inconvenient obstacle to passing their agenda. They call it a “Jim Crow relic” for obstructing voting rights bills and hope to topple it like a Confederate statue.

But progressives pushing to end the filibuster are suffering from a bad case of amnesia. The past three decades, in fact, are filled with moments when the filibuster prevented Republicans from pushing through legislation that would have made America a far darker place.

The Democrats now in power should weigh the present opportunity against future peril. Republicans have their own ambitious agenda which they will be delighted to enact over the helpless cries of a filibuster-less Democratic minority as soon as they can. A tour of recent history offers some stark examples of what that might look like.


- more at link. Another reason to be cautious IMO.

Suspicious' blackout strikes Iran's Natanz nuclear site

Source: ABC News

Iran's underground Natanz nuclear facility lost power Sunday just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges capable of enriching uranium faster, the latest incident to strike the site amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers.

As Iranian officials investigated the outage, many Israeli media outlets offered the similar assessment that a cyberattack darkened Natanz and damaged a facility that is home to sensitive centrifuges. While the reports offered no sourcing for the evaluation, Israeli media maintains a close relationship with the country's military and intelligence agencies.

If Israel caused the blackout, it further heightens the tensions between the two nations already engaged in a shadow conflict across the wider Middle East.

It also complicates efforts by the U.S., Israel's main security partner, to re-enter the atomic accord aimed at limiting Tehran's program so it couldn't pursue a nuclear weapon if it chose. As news of the blackout emerged, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel on Sunday for talks with Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/official-accident-strikes-irans-natanz-nuclear-facility-77002407

Court Rules Daily Mail's Publication of Katie Hill's Nudes Is Protected Speech Under the First Amend

Source: Law and Crime

Court Rules Daily Mail’s Publication of Katie Hill’s Nudes Is Protected Speech Under the First Amendment

A judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday tossed a lawsuit filed by former representative Katie Hill (D) over a series of nude and compromising photographs published by a British tabloid.

According to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Daily Mail was protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when they chose to ran those racy and controversial images in October 2019–which ultimately led to the rising star resigning from office in disgrace amidst an ethics probe into her relationship with a staffer.

Judge Yolanda Orozco ruled in the publication’s favor after they successfully raised an anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) defense based on a California law which prohibits lawsuits designed to chill free speech.

“Courts employ a two-step process to evaluate anti-SLAPP motions” Orozco noted. “To invoke the protections of the statute, the defendant must first show that the challenged lawsuit arises from protected activity, such as an act in furtherance of the right of petition or free speech. From this fact, courts ‘presume the purpose of the action was to chill the defendant’s exercise of First Amendment rights. It is then up to the plaintiff to rebut the presumption by showing a reasonable probability of success on the merits.’”

Read more: https://lawandcrime.com/first-amendment/court-rules-daily-mails-publication-of-katie-hills-nudes-is-protected-speech-under-the-first-amendment/
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